Joel Embiid and the Philadelphia 76ers entered the 2019-20 NBA season as one of the heavy favorites to bring home the Larry O’Brien trophy. Unfortunately, since the season started, the Sixers were nothing but huge disappointments as they failed to live up to expectations from a legitimate title contender in the Eastern Conference. In what most people expected to be an interesting best-of-seven series, the Sixers ended up being easily eliminated by their rivals, the Boston Celtics, in the first round of the 2020 Playoffs.
After being swept by the Celtics, it’s no longer surprising that rumors surrounding Embiid and the Sixers have started to heat up once again. In a recent interview with Brian Windhorst of ESPN, Embiid talked about his uncertain future in the City of Brotherly Love.
“I don’t make the decisions. I’m here in Philly. Whatever happens, happens,” said Embiid. “I’ve always said that I want to end my career here, and if it happens, good. If it doesn’t happen, well, you move on and all that stuff.”
Most of the Sixers’ struggles this year were blamed on Embiid and Simmons’ inability to efficiently co-exist on the court. As Simmons continued to hesitate to shoot the ball from beyond the arc, Embiid was forced to play away from the basket instead of spending games dominating under the rim. To make things worse, the Sixers failed to surround their superstar duo with players that could maximize their effectiveness on the offensive end of the floor.
Though he said that he “isn’t a GM,” Embiid doesn’t seem to be thrilled with the roster moves that the Sixers made in the past years.
“And then we, as you know, we decided to trade a lot of it with the picks and stuff for Jimmy [Butler], Tobias [Harris], and we got a bunch of great players in return,” Embiid said. “Like I said, it just didn’t happen. We could never find a rhythm this year. It is disappointing. There’s a lot of regrets. I felt like the focus was not always there.”
Embiid may remain committed to the Sixers, but if they won’t show him that they are serious about building a title-contending team around him, it wouldn’t be surprising if the All-Star center follows the footsteps of other superstars and starts finding his way out of Philadelphia in the 2020 offseason. Though he’s under contract until the 2022-23 NBA season, the Sixers will be left with no choice but to move him if he’s no longer happy with the team. Some of the teams that could express a strong interest in acquiring Embiid this fall include the Golden State Warriors, Boston Celtics, and the Miami Heat.